Nicholas Sparks is at it again with a love story for all audiences. “The Longest Ride” tells two intertwining romance stories. The first centers on a blossoming romance between a by-the-books art student named Sophia and rodeo cowboy Luke Collins, desperately seeking a comeback. On the couple’s first date they stumble upon a car wreck and save the life of an elderly man with a box of letters. The two find an unlikely friend in the old man, Ira Levinson, and he shares the story of his decades-long romance with his beloved wife, Ruth. “The Longest Ride” had a rough release and only grossed $13 million opening weekend. It also finished third after “Furious 7” and “Home,” which were both released the previous weekend.
The film currently holds a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes besting Sparks last five movies. This dates back to 2010’s “Dear John” which also holds a 29% approval rating on the website.
The lack of recognizable stars is probably the biggest reason for the turnout, especially since the most notable actor is Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood.
Most audiences are probably used to the Nicholas Sparks trope of a young white couple that, against all odds, manage to fall in love. However, this film incorporates a much more powerful tale between two Jewish people in the 1940s. Ruth (Oona Chaplin) is a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria and meets Ira (Jack Houston) through their local synagogue. The couple faces challenges when Ira goes to war and put on a truly moving and powerful display. Unfortunately, this plot is only a small deviation from the main story between Luke and Sophia, which is pretty lackluster in comparison. The two try to reconcile their different lives, but when juxtaposed against the moving themes in the old couple’s love story they seem to lack all chemistry and their romance seems much less interesting.
Additionally, the writing is very typical for romantic chick-flicks to the point where the audience can almost predict every cliched line. That being said, parts of the film are pretty moving and differentiate it from other Sparks films.
Though the cast isn’t star studded and some plot points fall flat, “The Longest Ride” is exactly the kind of feel-good romantic fluff the trailer makes it out to be. Longtime fans of Nicholas Sparks’ films will not be disappointed.
“The Longest Ride” is rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity and some war and sports action.